Aging gracefully an anticipated future in housing first
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Aging Gracefully: An Anticipated Future in Housing First. Presented by Patrick J. O ’ Dwyer & Erica Alexander M.A. Services Offered in Our Permanent Supportive Housing Model. Mental Health Services Chemical Dependency Supported Employment Services Payee Services 24/7 on site support

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Aging Gracefully: An Anticipated Future in Housing First

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Aging gracefully an anticipated future in housing first

Aging Gracefully:An Anticipated Future in Housing First



Patrick J. O’Dwyer


Erica Alexander M.A.

Services offered in our permanent supportive housing model

Services Offered in Our Permanent Supportive Housing Model

  • Mental Health Services

  • Chemical Dependency

  • Supported Employment Services

  • Payee Services

  • 24/7 on site support

  • Some meal provision/ shopping

  • Emergency call systems in apts.

  • Meaningful Activities

  • On site RN (some sites)

Long term services and supports ltss

Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS)

  • Home and Community Based Services

  • Assisted Living Facilities

  • Home Health Agencies

  • Skilled Nursing Facilities

  • Hospices

What s so great about hcbs

What’s So Great About HCBS?

  • Vital services are brought to residents who need them, allowing them to age in place.

  • Has the potential to substantially raise residents quality of life

  • Way, way cheaper to provide than institutional care (national average for institutional LTSS care $42,800 annually per person)

Home and community based services

Home and Community Based Services



Physical Therapy

Occupational Therapy

Medication Management

Outreach Nursing

  • Housekeeping

  • Bathing/Hygiene

  • Dressing

  • Laundry

  • Cooking

  • Shopping

  • Some Transportation

  • Meaningful Activities

Not so great

...Not So Great?

Practical Issues

Relational Issues

Interpersonal Challenges (alliance necessary)

HR/HF/TIC values lacking


Substance use

Escalated behaviors

  • Not designed to serve our population

  • Assessment Issues

  • Keeping scheduled appointments

  • Not 24/7 service

  • Accountability/Turnover

  • Resource allocation

All this to say

All this to say?

  • Don’t assume that just because a service connection has been made between HCBS and a resident that it will be effective or long lasting.

  • In the name of resident dignity and for the sake of their quality of life, be prepared to flex and assist residents while solutions are sought.

  • Our folks deserve better

Current projected age demographics

Current/ Projected Age Demographics


  • Number of people utilizing LTSS expected to nearly double in the next 35 years from 15 million currently to 27 million

  • Overall U.S. population 65+ projected to “boom” from 40.2 million to 88.5 million during the same period


  • DESC housed 1006 residents in 2013

  • DESC’s resident populations average age is 51 years old

  • 57% of residents housed by DESC in 2013 were 50+ yrs. old

What s the point

What’s the Point?

  • As the general population ages and the demand for HCBS increases it will be even more difficult to connect the population that we house with these critical services.

  • Organizations should anticipate these difficulties and cultivate partnerships with service providers whocan effectively bring these services to our population in their homes or, depending on your own demographics, consider forming a HCBS program to meet the needs yourself.

On the ground at desc s canaday house

On the Ground at DESC’s Canaday House

My immediate concern

My Immediate Concern…

  • Average age of 82 Canaday House residents is 56 years old

  • 66% are 50 or older (55/82)

  • 27% are 60 years or older (21/82)

  • 22% are enrolled in chore services that they pay for (19/82)

  • Only 4% are enrolled in HCBS (3/82)

Supportive housing model

Supportive Housing Model

The model is designed to assist individuals in achieving their highest level of self-determination using a housing first harm-reduction based practice. The design of the facility, staffing patterns, program values and ways of interacting with residents all combine to create a program that helps people succeed over the long term.

Service delivery roles:

  • Project Manger

  • Residential Counselors

  • Clinical Support Specialists

  • Case Managers/CD Counselors

  • On site nursing care/coordination

How can we assist you

How Can We Assist You?

  • Jane was a 59 year old African-American woman who was living in supportive housing when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Jane also suffered from gout, hepatitis C, vascular ulcers in her legs and memory loss. In addition to the medical conditions Jane also struggled with major depression, severe crack cocaine addiction with occasional alcohol use and she regularly smoked tobacco.

  • Jane wished to stay in her home and refused to consider an Adult Family Home due to income restrictions, not knowing the staff and being away from family and losing her sense of independence.

Issues and interventions

Issues and Interventions


  • Residents right and choice to be ill in their own home when they are beyond our scope of care

  • Staff lack medical training/knowledge

  • Facilities are not equipped to work with substance addictions and behavioral issues related to mental health

  • Rapport and sense of community


  • Housing staff

  • Home and Community Services (COPES)

  • Primary care and Hospice

  • Neighbor Care partnership

  • Case Management

  • Family

  • Skill Building

  • Flexible nursing facility

What we have learned

What we have learned…

  • Our population is aging and there are not enough resources to meet the needs of the residents we serve

  • Higher level of care facilities are not equipped to treat/care for individuals with severe mental health and/or addiction issues and the associated behavioral issues that may accompany major disorders

  • Services need to be brought to the individual so they can remain in their homes

Please feel free to contact us via email

Please feel free to contact us via email

Patrick can be reached at

Erica can be reached at

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